Letter to Australian Financial Review re incorrect reporting on Federal Court Case - CommSec Agreements

20 October 2005

The Commonwealth Bank sent the following Letter to the Editor of the Australian Financial Review to clarify incorrect reporting in its edition of 17 October

Dear Sir

I refer to the article that appeared in your edition of 17 October 2005 under the headline "CBA should be fined $1.8m says union" and would like to correct some inaccuracies in the article and present some of the facts to your readers.

At no time did the Federal Court find "that about 500 staff had been paid up to 30% less for the same jobs after they moved to CommSec". The case concerns 259 staff employed by the Bank when CommSec contracts were first offered by the Bank in September 2002. The vast majority of these staff were already employed under an individual agreement. Of these, 73 decided to accept the offer of a CommSec contract and the remaining employees (186) have stayed on their Bank terms and conditions of employment.

The Federal Court did not find that staff had actually been paid 30% less. The Court expressly stated that it rested its decision on the difference between minimum rates of pay under the CommSec and Bank Agreements.

At no time did the Bank "shift" staff to the CommSec contracts. The 73 staff who voluntarily moved to these contracts were offered the choice to remain under their existing contractual conditions or accept a CommSec contract.

Of these employees, 64 received increased base remuneration, one chose different work and accepted a new role at a reduced rate, and eight remained on their base pay. The average increase in base remuneration was around 12%, excluding bonuses that have been paid as well.

The 186 employees who remained on the Bank’s employment arrangements have been able to seek transfer and promotions. Since September 2002, 31 have been promoted and 48 have been appointed to other roles on Bank terms and conditions of employment.

Yours sincerely

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager